Longford Show society secures funding for new arena

SHOWTIME: The Longford Show still draws a healthy crowd. Picture: Paul Scambler
SHOWTIME: The Longford Show still draws a healthy crowd. Picture: Paul Scambler

A multipurpose arena will be unveiled at the Longford Showground by the start of May. 

The new arena will have a capacity of 7000 people and will be used for sheep exhibitions and judging at the show, according to Longford Show Society secretary Kristy Springer.

The society was awarded $25,000 by the Tasmanian Community Fund to build the new facilities after applying for the grant in January 2017. 

“[The arena] is a three-bay shed for want of a better word,” Ms Springer said. 

“It’s certainly in keeping with the rest of the buildings around the showground.”

Ms Springer said the multipurpose arena would be made available for hire all year round. 

While there have been no bookings so far, Ms Springer is taking the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. 

“There’s been interest for an alpaca show and I think once people know the facility is there and welcome to use the site, they will ” she said.

“The [showground] is used throughout the year for horse shows, as well as dog and poultry shows, and little one-off events using the current pavilions.”

The new arena comes at the beginning of a concerted effort to make upgrades to the showground, according to Ms Springer. 

“Last year we cemented the floor in home industries building, and this year it’s the shed,” she said.

“The committee hasn’t decided on what the next project is, but we are always looking at improving grounds and facilities.”

In 2018, the show will be held for the 162nd time, making it one of the oldest shows in Australia.

Despite the cancellation of the Launceston and Devonport shows in 2017, the Longford iteration consistently draws big crowds every year. 

In 2017, the show had more than 7000 people come through the gates for the one-day event, compared to about 9000 for the three-day Royal Launceston Show.

Ms Springer said the Longford Show kept to basics to maintain its popularity. 

“It’s got a good family feel to it,” she said.

“Everywhere you go there’s always something to see.”

The arena will be built by Launceston-based J & S Concreting and Building.